Hurricane season means it’s time for the East Coast to once again batten down the hatches. Last year’s hurricane season was unprecedented, causing widespread destruction and costing states billions of dollars. Now, the 2021 season is on track to cause havoc all its own.
Before the most recent storm can threaten the mainland US, however, it’s likely to pass over or close to several Caribbean Islands.
There’s currently a tropical storm warning in place for the islands of St. Lucia, Barbados and Martinique, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. The storm strengthened overnight Thursday to a tropical storm, now named Elsa, sustaining interior wind speeds exceeding forty miles per hour.
By Friday, the storm is likely to pass near the Windward Islands. At the time of this writing, Elsa is roughly 700 miles East-Southeast of the Windwards and is picking up speed. As the storm moves past the Windwards Friday, it’s expected to sweep into the Caribbean over the weekend. By Saturday morning, it could be lashing Hispaniola with heavy rains and strong winds.
Thankfully, the storm’s high speed could limit its ability to cause flooding on the Caribbean islands it’s expected to pass over. The Southwestern tip of Haiti could be affected, while the southernmost parts of the Dominican Republic could also see some of the storm. Most of Jamaica, meanwhile, is likely to be buffeted by the storm throughout the day Saturday and into Sunday evening.
After moving past Cuba and north, toward Florida, the storm is expected to make landfall over the US early Tuesday morning. Its projected path would bring it directly over the Southern tip of Florida, causing the storm to buffet the region that has been recently dealing with the aftermath of a tragic condo collapse.
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, though. Even if the storm intensifies over the weekend, it’s unlikely to scare many native Floridians.
As the storm’s development took place early in the season, meteorologists are worried that this could be another intense hurricane season. Elsa formed over a region near the Equator that doesn’t normally spawn tropical storms until later into July.
This, coupled with the storm’s name being the same as a beloved Disney princess, has made it a trending topic on social media. As the other Elsa is so fond of singing, the internet is hoping that the tropical storm will just “let it go” and take a turn away from any major landmasses.